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Title: Food shopping and the mobility impaired consumer
Author: Matthews, D. L.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2004
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Straddling the domains of retail geography and the geography of disability, this thesis focuses on the experiences of wheelchair users as they attempt to “do food shopping”, within three different realms – their immediate neighbourhoods, supermarkets and a city centre. Its purpose is to consider the extent to which wheelchair users comprise a group that may be labelled as “disadvantaged consumers”, and how consumer disadvantage may be experienced heterogeneously. The act of purchase is only one aspect of food shopping, accordingly, this study looks at those activities leading up to and after the decision to purchase, including where to shop, how to get there and back and movement in and around retail spaces. The work is based on an empirical investigation that involved a large-scale survey, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, escorted trips and visual methodologies with wheelchair users in the Swansea Bay region of South Wales. At all times an attempt was made to see the world from the point of view of these wheelchair users and to bring alive, through the voices of the participants, their own personal tragedies. The results suggest that for many wheelchairs users food shopping is not an inclusive activity. Instead, it takes place within an imperfect marketplace, inscribe with oppressive ableist assumption and practices. Often isolated within their homes by the “ableist gaze”, many respondents reported that their food shopping experiences are fraught with difficulties, largely arising from the ways in which environments are designed and the ways they are treated within society. Public transport is shown to be failing the needs of wheelchair users. Despite new legislation, significant problems are encountered in all three food shopping environments, especially within the domains of the neighbourhood and city centre. At the end of the thesis, policy objectives and recommendations are made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available